Democratic political operative David Axelrod says the growing chorus of people calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump makes him nervous.
While clearly no fan of the 45th president, Axelrod thinks efforts to impeach Trump at this stage would set a dangerous precedent that would “further erode faith in our democratic institutions.”
He warns that trying to oust Trump just 10 months into his presidency and before the conclusion of Robert Mueller’s investigation is essentially like stooping to Trump’s level by imperiling our country’s longstanding democratic norms and institutions.
“There may be a case against Donald Trump and we’ll find out; that’s what Bob Mueller is investigating,” Axelrod told Fusion’s Ryan Nerz in a sit-down interview for The Feed. “But my recommendation to people, progressives in the Democratic party and people upset by Trump, is to let that process work and don’t invoke words like impeachment or the 25th Amendment casually. That’s what [Trump] would do. That’s what he would promote. If you believe in our democracy, our institutions, then let them do their work.”
Axelrod, who rose to political fame as the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s history-making presidential campaign before becoming a senior White House advisor, stopped short of dismissing impeachment talk as liberal fantasy. But he stressed that “right now the foundation for it is not there.”
That’s why Axelrod says the impeachment campaign promoted by billionaire Tom Steyer “makes me nervous” because it risks putting our institutional democracy on an even more dangerous and slippery slope.
“A lot of folks that detest what [Trump] is doing feel that he should be removed by any means. And what I am saying is that the damage that could be done by that would be potentially even greater than the damage that he’s doing,” says the CNN senior political commentator and host of The Axe Files. “People should proceed carefully and make sure that whatever is done is done in a way that is justifiable, compelling and reflects the law.”
The veteran campaign strategist also thinks it would be an error for Democratic candidates to make impeachment an issue in 2018.
“I hope that the mantra of Democratic candidates in 2018 isn’t elect me because I’ll impeach Trump. I think that’s a bad idea. There’s a whole range of reasons why a Democratic Congress would be a good idea— to provide a counterpoint and to promote genuine bipartisan solutions,” Axelrod said. “But I think the impeachment thing should be put on the shelf unless and until it becomes relevant.”
Watch The Feed Tuesday night on Fusion to see our full interview with David Axelrod, who discusses Trump’s efforts to undermine Obama’s legacy and the need for a new generation of Democratic leadership.